Disclaimer: I used write out a very specific disclaimer explaining exactly what it is I don't own for each and every story I write but I find myself not really interested in doing so any more as it grew very tedious. Suffice it to say I own nothing that was created by anyone else and I am making no money whatsoever from the writing of this FanFiction.
Warnings: Mild Violence, Language, Adult Context, Alternate Universe,
AN: This story is self-beta'd; so there may be occasional grammatical or spelling errors that crop up every now and then and for those I apologize in advance.
Chapter 06: Escaping Felines
Friday, June 05, 2015
Stark Tower, New York City
Harry rolled out of bed at six sharp on the morning of the fifth; Tony had returned late the night before and the man had promised to take him back down to the lab this morning. The wizard was really looking forward to getting back to some hands-on work now that his hand had finally finished healing. Actually, his hand had healed in less than twenty-four hours but Harry wasn't allowed to work in any of the labs unless there was an adult present and Tony's personal labs were off limits unless Tony was there (Tony only ever leaving Harry alone that one time).
Eager to help Tony fix the problems with the Mark XIII (because he couldn't wait to fly again), Harry sped through his morning ablutions before he got dressed. He then grabbed the laptop Tony had given him to use and bolted out of his room. He dashed down the hallway towards the living room and kitchen, a huge grin on his face as the prospect of spending a day in the lab getting his hands dirty instead of merely exercising his brain. A pair of unfamiliar and highly intimidating adults standing in the entrance of the pent house as Harry came barreling out of the back of the suite doused Harry's good mood instantly as he skidded to a wide-eyed stop mere feet from the pair.
The man was at least two inches taller than Tony with light brown hair and sharp blue eyes. He was wearing tight black pants, a sleeveless black t-shirt under a skintight leather vest, and heavy combat boots. He also had a quiver full of arrows on his back, an arm guard on his right arm, a finger guard on his left hand, and carried a high-tech bow. The woman, on the other hand, had shoulder length hair that was dark red, light green eyes with a hard glint in them, and was only about six inches taller than Harry. She was wearing a skin tight body suit that emphasized her slim figure and chest along with a gun strapped to her left thigh.
"Who are you and how did you get in here, kid?" the man demanded as he tightened his grip on his bow and half reached up to grab an arrow out of his quiver.
"I'm Mr. Stark's new intern and he set me up with a room here," Harry replied after a split second's hesitation as he took a single step backwards and clutched his borrowed laptop to his chest.
"Nice try, kid, but I ain't buying it; you aren't old enough to be an intern."
"Shows what you know," Harry snarked back as he gave the man a scowl for daring to imply that he was a liar.
"Do your parents know you are here?" the woman asked in a kind tone that instantly put Harry on alert; it reminded him of the times when Aunt Petunia would pretend to be nice just before she said something particularly nasty.
"They're dead," Harry flatly answered as he unconsciously turned his body sideways to make himself a smaller target.
"Okay, what about your guardians? Where are they?"
"I no longer have or need a guardian; I'm emancipated."
"Pull the other leg, kid; it has bells on it. No government is going to emancipate a twelve year old."
"Well, it's a good thing I'm turning fifteen next month then," Harry growled as he scowled fiercely at the man that had just insulted him yet again. "J.A.R.V.I.S., can you let Tony know that there're a couple of creepy weirdos armed to the teeth in the pent house?"
"Mr. Stark is on his way out now, Harry," J.A.R.V.I.S. replied to the shock of the two adults that had been fingering their weapons without taking their eyes off of Harry.
"Legolas, would you kindly stop harassing my intern; I don't need you scaring him off his game plan when we were just getting ready to get back to work in the lab," Tony ordered as he walked up behind Harry and clapped him on the shoulder. "Did you eat breakfast yet, buddy?"
"No, I ran into the creep squad before I could reach the kitchen."
"Go grab something to eat then; I don't need you passing out in the lab because you went to work on an empty stomach; Pepper would have my head on a pike if she thought I was abusing my only intern."
"Yes, sir… did you want me to make you something while I'm in there?"
"No, Happy picked up some fresh donuts for me an hour ago."
"Donuts…? Are there any left?" Harry asked as casually as he could; the teen had developed a fondness for the sweet pastries over the past week.
"I might have saved you a bear claw or two."
"Brilliant," Harry crowed before he dashed off towards the kitchen. As he snagged one of the large bear claws out of the large, pink box of donuts, Harry unabashedly eavesdropped on Tony chastising the two adults that had turned up.
"Now, mind telling me why the two of you felt the need to grill Harry over an open flame before I even had a chance to properly introduce the two of you to him? Come to think of it, why are the two of you here? I thought you were working a mission?"
"We finished early. Why is there a kid here, Mr. Stark?"
"He's my new intern; brilliant kid with a wicked sense of humor and an amazing imagination. His work is going to take Stark Industries in an entirely new direction."
"He's legal, regardless of how old he is, and he is emancipated. That isn't even taking into consideration that as of three o'clock yesterday afternoon, I was granted conditional custody of the kid due to his status as a minor; meaning that he is my responsibility so long as he remains in my employ and lives on my property."
Harry nearly dropped the glass of milk he'd just poured for himself as he heard that little tidbit. Swallowing thickly, Harry wondered exactly what that would mean for him before he pushed the matter out of his mind as he strained his ears to hear what else was being said.
"You're Tony Stark, responsibility has never been a factor in anything you do," the woman cut back rather harshly.
"Well, I'll admit that it was Pepper that insisted upon the conditional custodian thing but that's only because she wanted to protect the kid from any negative press due to his close association to me through his internship. Now, Harry's probably going to finish his breakfast fairly soon here and he's going to want to know who you are, so that means I'm going to have to introduce the two of you to him. Before I do, however, there's one I think I want to make perfectly clear; Harry is off limits to all things S.H.I.E.L.D. and Fury. You want to hang out with him and get to know him, fine; so long as he allows it. But I will not allow you to make his life a living hell by dragging him into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar simply because he has an internship with Stark Industries."
"What's so special about the kid that you are willing to tolerate him? And why are you so paranoid about the Director learning about him?"
"What's so special about him? Do you know how hard it is to find a kid that appreciates classic music? Or one that will honestly laugh at my jokes, isn't afraid to intelligently insult me to my face, and who can actually speak and understand technological jargon? And did you not hear me earlier when I said he was brilliant? The kid's a right genius! And there's no way I'm letting Fury steal him away from me. He's my protégé and I'm not sharing him with the grumpy pirate."
"So you traveled all the way to England to find an intern?"
"No, technically, I found him by chance in France."
Harry groaned as he rinsed out his glass and set it on the counter; the only thing more annoying than Tony's bad puns was Tony when he started rhyming. The not-quite fifteen year old then grabbed his laptop and snagged the last bear claw before he headed back out to the entrance hall where Tony was still occupying the two strangers.
"By chance…? You mean you don't even know if he has the proper qualifications…? You just picked him up?"
"I didn't say that and of course he has the proper qualifications; otherwise I wouldn't have granted him an internship."
"That and I'm pretty certain that I'm one of the few people in existence that will put up with him for extended periods of time without developing mental issues or homicidal tendencies," Harry interjected as he leaned against the wall and took a big bite out of the bear claw in his hand.
"Don't be cheeky or I'll demote you to go-fer," Tony threatened with a mock pout and a twinkle in his eye that said he was joking. Harry just snickered and smirked at the man as he took another bite. "Come on over here, runt, and let me introduce me to two of your sometimes neighbors." Harry narrowed his eyes over the dig at his height but complied with the command anyway, since he really was curious as to who these two people were and why they were allowed into the pent house with their weapons on hand. "Harry, allow me to introduce you to Agents Clint Barton and Na…"
"Natalie Rushman," the redhead interrupted before Tony could finish.
"Natalie Rushman; they occasionally crash here whenever they're in town. Clint, Natalie; meet Harry Potter, my smart aleck intern who is going to help Stark Industries take the transportation world by storm."
"Pleasure to meet you," Harry offered out of habit before his brow furrowed in confusion. "I thought Mr. Barton's name was Legolas though?"
"No, Stark just calls me that when he thinks he's being funny," Mr. Barton dryly explained.
"Why…? It's not like you have pointed ears and long blonde hair."
"He plays with a bow and arrow."
"Then you should rightly be calling him Robin Hood, not Legolas… though I suppose that would only apply if he was robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. Maybe you could call him cupid instead?"
"See…? Didn't I tell you he was a genius?" Tony crowed as Ms. Rushman smothered a laugh and Mr. Barton glowered at Harry.
"Hey, don't glare at me; you're the one that insulted me first by calling me a twelve year old on top of insinuating that I was lying to you about my internship," Harry pointed out before he deliberately turned his back on the pair so he could address Tony. "Are we going down to the lab now, Tony? I spent the past two days reworking the diagrams on the motorcycle engine and you said you'd look them over again today. I also researched various options for creating a dependable rechargeable battery."
"Well, I guess that's my cue to get back to work; we'll see you two for supper and the now standard after dinner movie marathon – tonight we're going retro and watching the Back to the Future trilogy."
Harry took that to mean that they were heading down to the lab now and he bolted for the elevator, slipping between Ms. Rushman and Mr. Barton as effortlessly as he once slipped between students in the crowded halls of Hogwarts. As he moved passed the pair, Harry noted the stylized eagles both of them had on their clothing (Ms. Rushman on her left arm and Mr. Barton on his chest). The teen immediately recognized the symbol and felt a knot of dread form in his stomach as he hurried passed the pair to punch the lift button. Tony joined him by the lift just as the doors slid open and the two of them stepped inside together.
The moment the door's slid shut, Harry looked up at Tony and asked, "They both work for that shield S.H.I.E.L.D. organization thing you told me about, don't they?"
"Yes, they do. They are both good people despite who their employer is and I have trusted them to watch my back on more than one occasion. You won't have to worry about either of them kidnapping you in your sleep though. The only one you really have to watch out for is Nick Fury; the Director. He's not a bad person, per se, but he has been known to do whatever it takes to get a job done and he tends to walk over others in his efforts to protect America and the world."
"Won't they tell Mr. Fury that I'm here though?"
"Yes, Natalie will undoubtedly have contacted the Director the moment the doors slid shut behind us but you don't have to worry about it. I've already covered all the bases and no matter how deep they dig, they won't find anything to contradict the background story that I created for you. Barton will grumble for a few days because you called him cupid but he'll get over it fairly quickly while Rushman will try to manipulate you into telling her all of your secrets."
"Will they try to hack into the computers?"
"Yes, and unfortunately, they'll probably succeed too but they still won't find anything incriminating on you because I've had J.A.R.V.I.S. shift all of the more sensitive information over to my private server and that device is inaccessible to anyone other than me. I suggest you not put anything on that old laptop I gave you that you don't want anyone to know because they will find a way to access it the moment you set it down."
"Do I need to worry about the engine diagrams?"
"No, they won't care about those. I'm talking personal stuff, like if you started keeping a journal on there."
"Oh, there's nothing like that on here. I've only used it for work."
"What? Are you telling me that you've not even tested out any of the games I loaded on there for you?"
"Games…?" Harry parroted as the two of them entered the lab and headed for their respective workstations.
"Remind me to show you where they can be found later; right now I want to see the changes you made to your initial designs while I was stuck in boring meetings for the last two days."
"Alright," Harry eagerly agreed as he quickly slid the laptop into the docking station at his assigned work space and booted up the machine. "The math tutorials that Dr. Banner gave me to work on while you were gone really helped, as did some of his science lectures on chemistry, electronics, and physics. I never would have thought that math and science could factor so heavily in building something like an engine."
"Science and math make the world go round, buddy."
"Apparently so… or humans just made up things like science and math to explain the unexplainable because they were too frightened of the unknown," Harry countered with a smirk as he opened up the design program and transferred his engine designs to the main holographic display so that Tony could check them over.
The two of them would then spend the half of the morning tearing apart Harry's designs and putting them back together with Tony pointing out his mistakes (of which there were only a couple). The other half of the morning was spent going over the Mark XIII suit design with Harry tentatively offering a suggestion or two on the best way to shield the inner circuitry of the suit from his magic. They would then spend their lunch hour playing computer games over a box of Thai food before Tony left Harry to continue his work on the redesigned engine while he began building the Mock Reactor Mark II.
Harry had just fixed one of the glaring mistakes in his theoretical engine that Tony had pointed out to him when the man in question walked up to him and thrust a cylindrical wooden object under his nose and ordered, "Give this a couple of waves, Gandalf."
"Don't do that!" Harry exclaimed in surprise as he reared backwards from the shock of nearly having his nose jabbed by the wooden object. "And what exactly is that supposed to be?"
"What, you can't recognize a wand when you see one?"
"That's not a wand, Tony… at least not one that I've ever seen before. It's far too thick and the tip should be half the diameter of the base and smoothed over so there are no sharp edges and it doesn't even have a handle," Harry replied as he hesitantly reached out to take hold of the wooden rod. The moment his hand touched the wood, Harry felt a draw on his magic much like the one he'd felt when he'd picked up the Mock Reactor and he yelped in shock even as he dropped the rod onto his desk where it rocked back and forth as a thin stream of smoke rose from the thing. "What did you do to that?"
"I hollowed it out and gave it a vibranium core. Why did you drop it so quickly? Did you burn your hand again?"
"No, I dropped it because my magic surged the moment I touched it and I wasn't expecting it to draw on my core."
"Was it a large or small surge?"
"Large and just as uncontrolled as the flood of magic that the Mock Reactor had drawn from my core the other day."
"So, the inner core should be smaller, the diameter needs to be smaller, and the wood needs to be in a specific shape. Can you draw me a diagram of a basic wand so I have some idea of what I should be aiming for?"
"What exactly is it you are trying to do, Tony?" Harry asked in confusion as he flicked his gaze from the wooden rod to Tony and back again several times.
"Isn't it obvious…? I'm making you a replacement wand."
Harry blinked at Tony before he dropped his gaze down to the rod as he quietly asked, "Why?"
"Why not…? You said you missed doing magic and that you had to have a wand to properly use your magic. Then there's the fact that studying the energy fluctuations that occur when you perform spells might give me a better idea on how to protect the suit from your bleed off."
"Do you have a diagram of how you made this one or did you just throw something together on the fly?" Harry finally asked as an affectionate grin tugged at the corner of his mouth in response to Tony's thoughtfulness while blatantly ignoring the fact that the man had just admitted he wanted to run more tests on Harry's magic.
"I have three diagrams that I drew while I was stuck in meetings," Tony replied as he stepped over to his work station to pull up the wand designs he'd come up with onto the main holographic display.
Harry noted that each one of them basically had a wooden rod with a small ball or disk of vibranium tucked into one end of the rod. There was even one that looked like a miniature version of Gandalf's staff. Tipping his head to one side in thought, Harry shoved two of the diagrams off to one side and began making adjustments to the remaining design. First, he changed the basic shape of the rod so that the diameter was half of the original size and made the tip smaller than the base before he rounded off the very end. Next, he hollowed out the center of the rod along the entire length except for the final inch of the tip and added threads to the outside of the rod at the base so that the wand could be screwed into a handle.
After that, he added a thin metal rod (that could be made from silver, copper, or pewter) with a small pocket on one end that would fit a sliver of vibranium about the size and shape of an eyeless sewing needle. The duel rod would then be sheathed in a tube of cold iron. He took a few moments to write out the proper dimensions of the wand (such as length, diameter, and weight) and noted that the wood should be sanded smooth and sealed with beeswax, not varnish. Lastly, he added a solid handle made of wood that was similar in appearance to the handle of his original wand.
"I'm finished," Harry declared as he stepped back away from the diagram.
"Why did you use such a small amount of vibranium in the core?"
"I don't need to run a suit or an entire building with the wand, Tony. A wand is meant to be a focus, a tool; not a power source."
"What function does the dual sheath around the core serve?"
"Silver conducts magic nearly as well as truesilver or mithril and the silver rod is meant to draw the magic away from the vibranium and guide it down the length of the wand. Copper or pewter would work as well but they aren't as durable as silver. The cold iron, on the other hand, is needed to protect the wood casing from the heat generated by the core and to further aim the magic drawn into the wand in a single direction; which is why the iron tube doesn't extend to cover either end of the inner rod."
"Why doesn't the core extend down into the handle?"
"To create a buffer between my hand and the core to help limit the amount of magic drawn into the wand and prevent my hand from being burned if the wand overheats despite the presence of the cold iron. The shape and size is to allow for a more secure grip; making it is harder for someone to take the wand from my hand."
"Okay, let's get this done then; you go pick through the holly dowels I ordered, find one you think will work, and mark off which section of it you want to use while I set about casting your core."
"Yes, sir; oh, and Tony, there can't be any seams in the cold iron – it has to be made from an unbroken tube or my magic will rip it apart through the perceived weakness in the metal at the seam."
"Not a problem, Gandalf."
Harry laughed when Tony saluted him in response to his warning before he shook his head and walked over to the box of wooden dowel sticks that Tony had propped up against his work table. Harry dumped the entire box out onto the table and carefully inspected the three-foot lengths of pale wood. The few that were not made of a single section of wood were immediately returned to the box, leaving only two rods on the table. After a small debate, he selected the dowel that was knot-free and returned the other one to the box. He then measured off twelve and a half inches (the extra inch and a half added to account for the length of the rod that would be inserted into the handle or shaved off to make the tip).
That done, Harry returned to his desk and laptop to resume work on the motorcycle engine he was designing while he tried not to think about having a working wand once more. He would have about forty-five minutes of undisturbed work before Tony was once again thrusting a wooden rod under his nose; only this time the resemblance to an actual wand was far greater. Harry stared at the handle of the unfinished wand for several long seconds before he reluctantly reached out to take hold of the device.
The moment his fingers wrapped around the handle, Harry again felt a draw on his magic; though this draw was far less wild than the previous draw he'd felt when he'd handled Tony's first attempt at a wand. Silver and pale blue sparks exploded from the tip of the artificial wand (it technically had no magic at all unlike true wands) that swirled wildly around Harry before they disappeared. Harry laughed softly and closed his eyes as he felt the wand hum and thrum with magic; the feeling well remembered from all of the times that he'd used his old holly wand. Only, his old wand never radiated the sheer amount of power that the artificial wand currently held; the device having absorbed the magic it had pulled from him.
"So, what's the verdict, Gandalf? Is that going to work or were the sparks indicative of a malfunction?" Tony demanded after two full minutes of silence.
"That was just my magic bonding with the wand," Harry replied absently as he opened his eyes and studied the wand in his hand for another minute before he settled the handle into more comfortable position in his palm and pulled upon every happy memory he could recall. "Now for a practical test; Expecto Patronum!"
Harry's magic surged forward eagerly as the final syllable of the incantation fell from his lips and a huge silvery-white form three times larger than his normal patronus poured forth from the tip of his wand before solidifying into an armored stag that appeared for more solid than it should. Harry barely stopped his jaw from hitting the floor as his patronus snorted out a cloud of ethereal steam and shook its antlered head before it turned to face him.
The young wizard held his breath and reached out with his left hand as the creature stepped closer to him and he nearly flinched when his hand came into contact with what felt like cool metal as he touched the stag's muzzle. He then laughed softly a heartbeat later as the stag nuzzled his hand like a real animal seeking attention even as he was suffused with the positive emotions that he'd used to fuel the Patronus Charm. The stag snorted a second time and Harry felt tendrils of his magic curling around him; the stag's breath comprised entirely out of magic (much like the stag itself).
"I bet you could take on the entire population of dementors without breaking a sweat now, eh Prongs?" Harry inquired with awe and amusement. He couldn't help but chuckle when the stag eagerly nodded its head and pawed the ground with one hoof; each strike drawing a flurry of tiny blue sparks. "I look forward to the day I can see you in action, Prongs. For now, you are free to go."
The stag snorted one final time before it reached out to tweak a lock of Harry's hair with its teeth before the magic that gave it form shattered and dissipated into the air where it was quickly sucked up by his wand. Harry stared at the wand with a little bit of trepidation due to the way it had reabsorbed the magic but when nothing happened after several seconds, he just wrote it off as a weird side affect of the vibranium core. The soon to be fifteen year old then glanced to his side where a silent Tony was staring at the spot where the stag had scuffed the floor of the lab with its hoof.
"What kind of spell was that, Gandalf?" Tony asked after he shook himself out of his stupor and lifted his blue eyes to meet Harry's gaze.
"That was the Patronus Charm and the stag was my patronus; though that was the first time I'd ever conjured a patronus that large or that solid and the suit of armor it wore was entirely new."
"You called it Prongs, why?"
"You remember what I told you about my father and his group of friends and how they became animagi to help Moony during the full moons? Well, my patronus is the spitting image of my father's animagus form (not counting the armor it was wearing) and I always imagine that each time I cast that spell, it is my father's spirit coming back to watch over and protect me."
"That's quite a powerful sentiment," Tony murmured absently as he stared off at nothing. The man then shook himself again before he gave Harry a crooked grin and asked, "So, what other tricks can you show me now that you have a proper wand? I mean you have to put that twig through its paces and give it a thorough testing to ensure that it is fully functional, right?"
"You just want to see me cast some of the spells that I talked about."
"Well, yes, but that doesn't change the fact that you need to test the wand."
Harry laughed again before he began casting all of the spells he could remember, starting with a color changing charm that turned Tony's shirt and pants purple and gold before he levitated random tools, summoned stray parts, and banished a few pieces of trash that were laying around the room. He then repaired a broken mug that had been thrown away, transfigured a piece of the ruined Mark XIII prototype into a hedgehog, and used the Engorgement Charm on a pen that had been sitting on his desk.
"I'm impressed; this actually looks like a real hedgehog only its cold to the touch like the armor it was made from and still weighs the same as the piece of scrap metal you made it out of," Tony stated as he captured the transfigured hedgehog and gave it a thorough examination. "Why a hedgehog though?"
"It was the first animal that popped into my head."
"How is the wand holding up? Are you feeling any excess heat through the handle?"
"It's brilliant, Tony; it works even better than my old holly wand despite the fact that it wasn't made by a Wandmaker and technically doesn't have any magic of its own, unlike a true wand."
"Good, pass it over and I'll add the finishing touches while you clean up your work station for the day."
Harry reluctantly passed the wand back to Tony, who smirked knowingly at him, before he turned around to begin cleaning up his work station. He'd just pulled his borrowed laptop free of the docking station when Tony returned with the vibranium wand in hand and held it out to him once more. Harry immediately noted that the handle had been painted hotrod red and had a series of artistic swirls that had been inlaid with gold carved into the wood. The wand had also been freshly sanded and wiped clean with a damp cloth to remove all of the wood dust from the surface.
"I didn't have any beeswax on hand to add a finishing coat to the wand casing but the jar of organic polish I ordered for you should be here first thing tomorrow morning," Tony stated as Harry reverently accepted the wand back. "I also ordered a leather sheath making kit so that you can make yourself some kind of holster to carry it in."
"Thanks, Tony," Harry murmured lowly as he let his right thumb trace over the swirling gold patterns on the handle.
"You're welcome, kid; now can you please restore my clothes to their former glory so we can go celebrate with pizza, popcorn, and a movie?"
Harry laughed and flicked the wand in Tony's direction as he spoke the incantation for the Cancellation Spell. He laughed a second time when Tony breathed a sigh of relief and patted down the Black Sabbath t-shirt he was wearing as if to verify that the shirt had been unharmed by the spell. Tony then pulled him into a headlock and gave him a noogie as he dragged the teen towards the door while Harry laughed and squirmed as he tried to free himself. They were still wrestling and goofing around in the antechamber when the lift doors opened up to reveal a women with shoulder length black hair that had been pulled up into a bun at the back of her head waiting inside of the open elevator.
"Agent Hill, fancy meeting you here right outside of my private workshop," Tony intoned as he released Harry and straightened up. "I hadn't realized I had a meeting scheduled with you today."
"You didn't; I was actually on my way up to brief Clint and Natasha about their recent mission," Agent Hill replied as she smiled and dropped her gaze on Harry. "Who is your friend? He doesn't appear to be a side-product of one of your many one night stands; unless he gets his looks entirely from his mother?"
"No, Harry isn't my bastard son and if he was, don't you think it would have been inappropriate of you to ask me such a question in front of him?" Tony retorted with a slight inflection of annoyance as he dragged Harry into the elevator with him. "Besides, I was always very careful during my dalliances with the fairer sex; I'm one hundred percent certain that there are no mini-mes running around out there."
"My apologies, no insult was intended."
"Don't worry, Ms. Hill, I took your question as a compliment," Harry replied with a smug half smirk. "Tony is almost as big of a trouble maker as my dad was when he was alive and my father was an absolute genius; he married my mum and had me, after all. I don't think my dad could have topped peeing inside of his suit in front of an audience though."
"I do believe there was an insult in there somewhere," Tony remarked as he propped one hand on his hip and scratched his goatee with the other. "Remind me to dock your pay for it later, Samwise. Well, I suppose that means it is time for proper introductions; Harry, meet Agent Hill. Agent, meet my new intern; Harry Potter."
AN: And this time I'm running two days late as punishment for gloating about my early posting last week. Ah well, I've always hated keeping to a schedule and half the problem was that my menace of a kitten dislikes it when I'm paying more attention to my computer than to her. She's deleted more chapters, PM's, and e-mails than I care to count and I'm just lucky I was able to retrieve everything before the losses became permanent.
On the flip side, her demands for attention made it a right pain to get any work done and I was unable to finish the next chapter of Twice Blessed Shinobi as a result; so this will be the only chapter today. It will also be the last chapter I post on this story for quite a while since Chapter Eight is in the process of being rewritten and the final two chapters of this story (Chaps 9 & 10) aren't even written yet. Nor have I done much beyond plot out the outlines for the sequel. Whether I post the sequel as part of this story or as a separate story hasn't been decided yet either.
Anyway, I'd better get this up before the kitty wakes up and blitzes my note on me. Be sure to keep an eye on my author's page for my progress on this story as well as my other WIPs and for future update dates! ~ Jenn